Walking beneath the city’s night time sky I heard the distinct pitter-patter of footsteps echoing as people made their way through the streets to explore Cape Town’s night life. I was on my way to the secret speakeasy location, to experience The Art of Duplicity.

A big bearded gentlemen wearing a suit nodded his head as I walked towards him – once I whispered the secret code in his ear, I was shown through a steel backdoor where a 1920s-inspired evening awaited me.

As I left the moonlit sky behind and headed into the mysterious dark alleyway, I shifted my hat to the left wondering if my ‘Mae West’ inspired attire would help me blend in with the crowd.

Was I in for ‘a moveable feast’ in the words of Hemingway from the film ‘Midnight in Paris’ set in the 1920s, I pondered as we halted before a second heavy door.

The musical rhythms of jazz ushered us in and we were transported back in time, when technology was yet to be and the Charleston was still a hit.

The band was led by Russ Nerwich of Tones of Note and the double bass player was completely immersed in the music he was playing to.

live jazz performance

The prohibition act of the 1920s in the US gave birth to the iconic ‘speakeasy’, a time where alcohol could not be sold, manufactured or transported and the public turned to underground establishments to spend their evenings with a glass of champagne in hand while listening to the soulful sounds of the bass.

The inspiration for The Art of Duplicity stems from the 1920s speakeasy’s of the United States and the amber lighting paired with the small space made for an intimate atmosphere.

With a warehouse aesthetic, the venue was truly hidden from the public eye. A premier selection of cocktails are on offer, prepared by a master of mixology, Brent Perremore.

Opting for the ‘Paper Tiger’, a gin and litchi infused cocktail I gazed around the room noticing the Chesterfield sofa’s, velvet chairs, dazzling lamps and royal red rugs rolled out on the floor.

Paper Tiger Cocktail

Other cocktail options on the menu included a ‘Bag o’ Brass Knuckles’ and ‘Hillbilly Breakfast flip’ to name a few. Each drink is uniquely created with a interesting flavour profile. Guests seated next to me ordered a concoction that was smoking away under a glass cloche, adding to the mystery of the evening.

I sipped away on my cocktail while enjoying the live performance.

Patrons are encouraged to dress to the theme of Mae West or Al Capone, donning their most elegant and flapper-inspired attire.

The Art of Duplicity is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6pm – midnight.

This location of the premier nightlife experience is kept secret from the general public, mums the word, hush-hush.

If I told you, I would have to…

Visit 170120.co.za to find more clues and further instructions will be sent to you via email or SMS.


Picture: Pexels

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